Quick solutions when the price of concentrates is high
What we can control
The first step in mitigating the impact of this crisis is to know how your operation is doing in this situation. Feed costs are rising on all farms, but have they risen more on your farm than elsewhere? Calculating your operation’s feed margin will answer this question. Thanks to our database that gathers information from several hundred farms in Quebec, all suppliers included, you’ll be able to easily compare yourself with others.
Once you’ve done this, shift into solution mode and try to minimize feed costs as much as possible while maximizing cow production for the same level of concentrate. We’ve compiled below a checklist of items that could improve your farm’s situation. This list starts with the things that are easy to implement and get results quickly. We tend to think that simple solutions cannot have significant effects, but it can often be just the opposite!
- Calibrate the concentrate dispenser and mixer;
- Re-use weigh backs for heifers;
- Sharpen mixer knives regularly (check every three months, or as needed);
- Check the grinding and digestion of the grain;
- Re-evaluate feed bunk management;
- Evaluate forage consumption/substitution and its effects;
- Review cow grouping;
- Review heifer feeding;
- Re-evaluate feed choices (price versus nutritional value);
- Evaluate the relevance of additives;
- Review management of supplies:
- Quantities ordered
- Cost-effective format
- Sample forages regularly:
- Every batch, and at least once a month (increase frequency for larger herds)
- Watch our series of videos for a reminder of sampling techniques.
Once you’ve chosen a few practical solutions for your operation, you’ll need to try them out and keep a close eye on your feed margin while you do so. This will allow you to see if your efforts have been rewarded.